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Full Nelson: CTIA: HTC EVO 4G And All The Toys

This year's annual mobile industry gathering saw more 4G phones, more handsets, and a little bit more focus on the enterprise. Our Full Nelson columnist dials in his take on the new gear and services.
FloTV
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FloTV
4) FloTV. I've long been a fan of FloTV, a division of Qualcomm which provides a personal TV service directly--available through retail outlets like Amazon and Best Buy--and carrier partnerships. It uses the company's own spectrum and delivers 20 channels. All are top content brands, including Disney, CBS, Fox, and the Food Network, and some of the shows are live. I've been using it to watch March Madness, and the company says that it has seen a tremendous increase in usage during the tournament; it has plans to produce more live content (it is limited in how much it can offer without impacting other channels), and even offer tiered content packages.

To hear companies like Clearwire and Sprint tell it, all of this will be available with 4G, but having used FloTV for the past four months, the performance and reliability of it is tremendous and convenient. It might be a while before this kind of TV experience hits your carrier's network.

Yahoo Sketchasearch
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Yahoo Sketchasearch
5) Yahoo Extends Search. Yahoo offered two new iPhone applications. The first is Sketchasearch, a program that assumes most point-of-interest searches are local. Take your finger and draw around a given area (or a line along a given street), and it brings up restaurants (other points of interest to come) right there on the map. From there, it uses Yahoo's superb local search database, complete with ratings and reviews and directions, and the ability to call and make reservations. All over Las Vegas, restaurants had unfulfilled reservations in my name!

Yahoo's new search app, also on the iPhone, is much smarter about context and relevance, and is voice enabled.

6) New User Interface models. Both Yahoo's Mobile Search and Sketchasearch let you shake the phone to reset a search. I bring this up because it's another interesting evolution in mobile U, along with Samsung's Swipe. I witnessed another example of this when PayPal showed me how it had integrated Bump technology into its new consumer application on the iPhone. If you haven't seen this, Bump lets you tap phones (bump) to exchange information.

For PayPal, you can use this to do things like split a check at a restaurant (maybe one you've reserved using Yahoo's Search App). If you're both using PayPal, you just bump phones after making a split check request, and voila, the money gets transferred to your bank account.

Ed Hardy's Icing series
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Ed Hardy's Icing series
7) Sexy Stuff. The fun wouldn't be complete without a little eye candy, and in the interest of thorough research, I felt compelled to go see what was new in physical phone protection, and lo and behold, Ed Hardy's Icing series was on full display! Only $40 for a phone skin, some of them bedazzled. There were Garibaldi designs ( David Garibaldi creates paintings in four minutes, I was told; these sell for up to $70,000; not a bad business model if you think about it), and fresh paintings. I took pictures of the artist with his work. These are all available here.

Click here to view all of the images from CTIA

Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.

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